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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Increase the 218 character filename length limit to open files in excel

Excel can't open files with full path lengths greater than 218 characters as documented in This is still a problem in Office 2016. It seems crazy that Excel can't open a valid file that the filesystem allows. People have been complaining about this since Office 2000. The thread below has over 11 thousand views and there are plenty others. Please fix this.

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  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The upside here is that hope cannot possibly be futile in this case.

    Consider how MS wants the computing world to move forward. Things like Sharepoint are essential to it as are things like moving people to the "cloud" in its full glory: app server farms as much as storage farms. Either side of that is going to require much more complicated paths.

    Forcing everyone to use shortened naming and substitute pathways is mostly a non-starter for a litany of reasons. Result? Not just what the IRS likes to phrase as "I'm feel like I'm, feeling some pushback here when you claimed you were being cooperative" and not even outright refusal to do so but rather a simple ignoring of their desires no matter what and the folks buying things regarding a variety of products as "broken": as "not career enhancing"... and so simply no one purchasing their efforts. A flat "we're not even saying 'no', we're just buying something that works" result.

    So not only can and does Windows support a 32767 character path for anything with a path so they already have an incredible upgrade in ability available for no cost or effort at all, but also, they must do it or wither on the vine they are choosing to force us to.

    The only difficulty then is rewriting the portion of Excel that limits, on its own, how much path length a function can address. It seems functions can address slightly less than 256 characters and some of that has to be left for the file name and cell or range of cells being addressed. 31 characters seems to be the assumption, though reading the explanation they give for that made it seem like it should really be a few more... it adds to more than 31 (just the sheet tab name alone can be that long, exactly that long, so it suggests that's the real reason for the 31 and the cell or range isn't in the sum at all)... with the rest being available for the actual path name to the file. (Add a full cell range to the 31 and the 218, and one exceeds the 256 max possible: maybe there is something in that for why certain things mysteriously fail. Hmm...)

    In any case, from THEIR OWN viewpoint, this is an utter, ABSOLUTE MUST. So it is very likely they mean it when they say they intend to include it in upcoming work.

    (Of course... if, in 3½ years the ADMIN comment is 3½ years old and still no changes... feel free to question my mother's species... Bill Gates must have loved the movie Brazil.)

  • Joseph RAVIER commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This issue was already bothering when I had to save my file in local folders. But now I work on a SharePoint Synchronised Folder, it's a real pain in the ***. Most of the characters are used by the address of the SharePoint "Shared documents" folder ant it left only a hundred characters for the sub folders organisation and the file name before the 218 char limitation. I have to save my file in a local folder and then move the file in the synchronised folder to avoid this crazy limitation. Can you address this issue once and for all, please ? At least make it homogeneous with the windows file system limitation.

  • Mark Freeman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    ditto...just landed here in vain...can't open my Excel file down too many folders...but no problem copying the file there!! This is a real issue...suggest changing logic so that path and file name lengths count least for a start...or just don't count the path characters (only the file name itself).

  • Darren commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Still having problems with this in Office 365, would have thought this was fixed!!!!

  • connor commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please fix this! Extremely frustrating and counterproductive. No reason this should still be a thing.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    They limit it so as to keep the files theoretically findable and openable/delvable by formulas in the program itself.

    Windows itself can allow 32767 characters if one sets it that way. Excel is interdicting the operation. Why not change it to allow any old path length? Bet it's tied up in a kludge that involves still maintaining some 8-bit limit that impacts other things too.

    Why not fix those? Well... might as well ask why some functions can reach into a closed file and obtain data and why some can't. Literally. My wager is some use the old methods associated with this problem and CAN do it, while along the way someone added a new approach and the ones that cannot reach in are written using the new approach. Or maybe the other way around makes more sense.

    Hopefully they really mean the "PLANNED' thing instead of it ending up like a couple others aging like a Hollywood starlet. Seems like this would be a fairly simple change and the only downside going forward would be that the functions that would no longer reach into files would seem to fail to do that for some unknown reason. Or maybe it's all upside, if all of them now would. Old limited paths would work fine in a larger setting, so there's no obvious downside there.

    So, one hopes...

  • Andreas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It's pathetic. You can save on a temp folder with shorter path length and copy to the destination folder. No issues. Open and save the file on the destination folder. No issues. Why then does SaveAs not work??

  • Chris McGuinn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Admin/[company name (4 characters)]/Proposals/2019/03-March/[xx-xxxx - Client and Job Description]/[xx-xxxx - Job/Proposal Description]. The job/proposal description can exceed 70 characters alone (including spaces, not sure if each space is considered 3 characters [%20]). This is a required file/folder naming structure by some of our worldwide clients and it's been fine for over 2 decades with in-house servers/NAS. But, as I said also, once you start adding the SharePoint directory length it easily goes over the limit. Our average in-house length is between 175-200 for our more extensive jobs.

    Once again... OneDrive and SharePoint Online have already increased their file length to 400 characters. Definitely not a stretch requesting their Office products to do the same. And I don't see us ever getting to a 400 character limit. Our most extensive one was right around 300

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    No. But thanks for thinking I might be.

    Are you an a**hole? Walk like a "duck"... talk like a "duck"... people might think so...

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Mr. McGuinn!

    You are a troublemaker! Me, me, me!

    OTHER people don't have this problem! (One lives in Texas, about 40 miles west of Dallas, the other lives in Idaho, sorry, no references there to be miles outside of, it's just a lot of empty.)

    If those two can handle working with the limitation, surely the other 800 million of us, you included sir, can do so as well.

    Bring back America's CAN DO attitude! No more of CAN DON'T. That doesn't even make sense! How can you "don't"??? Note, a CAN DO attitude does not apply to monopolies or big bullies. So do not judge MS, lest ye be judged! Oh, well, judged again?

    Remember the successful two who firmly believe that Apple does not have directories and structure hiding somewhere, and that Windows can work with everything in the single directory they call "root." Just put every little thing in the root directory and you can easily let SharePoint consume almost any number of characters and still save your file!

    It's so simple. I mean "simple" like in "otherwise mentally enabled" not like in "easy", of course, but still simple! No further need for "wishful thinking" or "improvements"!

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